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Living proof of living history

Mary Clark finishes draft of book

Christine Kay
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Sep 09/02) - Mary Clark has just completed the first draft of a 200-page history on the city of Iqaluit.

It is called "Historical and Territorial Evolution of Iqaluit -- from land to legislature in 50 years."

NNSL Photo

Mary Clark said she is always finding something she never noticed when she revises her final draft of a manuscript on the history of Iqaluit. - Christine Kay/NNSL photo

Clark's first visit to Iqaluit was in 1974 for a holiday with her husband, Clive.

"We walked on the tundra and soon found out that if you went over more than one hill you could easily get lost," said Clark.

But after several more visits to the city, Clark was no longer worried about losing her sense of direction when she hiked. Instead, she was afraid the city she had come to love was slowly losing its history.

Clark began travelling more regularly to Iqaluit after 1994, when her husband got a job here. She spent most of her time volunteering at the museum and it was there that her interest in Iqaluit's past really began to grow.

"I've been working on the history for almost three years now. It began from a general interest and then I began to think that if I don't pinpoint this it's going to disappear."

Clark said those who have seen the draft are quite impressed with the amount of information in it.

She said a lot of people look at the old photographs and realize they had forgotten many things about the way Iqaluit used to be.

The manuscript is designed to be published in a loose-leaf binder so it can become a living history as people add information to it as they please.

Other plans for the history involve incorporating it into a CD or a Web site, abbreviating it into a brochure for tourists and developing some sort of walking tour.

But, Clark said its main purpose is education.

"I don't have any funding right now. I'm just doing this all on my own, the next step is to find someone to publish it," said Clark.

She has also worked with the federal government since 2000, helping them develop a history as well.

Clark said although the draft is finished and her husband no longer works in the city -- they both live in Toronto -- but have their kayaks in Iqaluit and are quite attached to the city.

They'll be back, she said, and they plan to continue coming back for a long time.